Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michael's Schedule

Dear Family,
Sounds like everyone seems to be busy and working hard.  I miss you guys a bunch. I’m going to answer moms questions. The weather has been nice so far. It’s about high 60’s to low 70’s to mid or high 80’s. I’m daily switching between my two church shoes every other day or so. I’m wearing short sleeve shorts every day except Sunday we have to dress full suits. My schedule is wake up at 6:30am. Breakfast at 7:00 at 7:30 we have TALL which is a language software so we practice Spanish each day except Sundays.
Then we have Personal Study at 8:30 to 9:30. (Which is just study for the investigator.) Our teachers are our investigators and we later practice with them if they were a real investigator.  9:30 is when Class starts were we learn grammar concepts that we practiced in TALL earlier that day. Class goes from 9:30- 12:30 (during that time we usually practice with the investigator. 12:30 we have Lunch to 1:15. 1:30- 2:30 we have hour of extra study for ourselves whatever we feel we need help with. 2:30-3:30 we have Language Study. We have our 3 Red Books we practice our Spanish in learning that concept earlier again. 3:55 Gym time we go outside and play basketball or volleyball in the parking lot outside.
But it’s not that bad because the weather is nice and there seems to be a nice slight breeze in the air. Gym ends at 4:45. 5:15 is Dinner. 6:00 to 9:00 we have another class were we learn how to teach more effectively and practice talking to an investigator. 9:00 we plan for the next day and see what our investigators need to know. And what commitments we want to extend to them. 9:30 is Family Prayer with everyone in the MTC.
And then Sister Glazier (MTC president’s wife) lets us pick out a candy before we go to bed. 9:30 to 10:15 is when I write in my journal what happened that day and I say 3 things I am thankful for and usually one blessing I want in my journal. 10:15 is quiet time. 10:30 is lights off.   I am staying healthy even though sometimes I skip my P.E. to read. I have to work kind of hard to keep this weight off. I am taking my vitamins. I have gained a few pounds. We have laundry once a week for our district on Mondays. I do not know the living arrangements in the field yet although the mission presidents our coming to speak to us next week and the week after that. I know we will be cooking. They told us not to buy food from street vendors and let me tell you there is tons of them wherever you stop walking up and down the road or highway trying to sell you something. 
I actually bought a flag from a street vendor. I bought for 250 pesos for a flag.Which is about $6.00 American dollars. A pretty big flag for $6.00. I was assured by Hermano Cuervas that it was a good price. Considering another Elder bought the flag the same size for 400+ pesos. They usually give you a price and you just ask how much you think it’s worth and tell them how much your willing to pay for it.  There is A LOT of flags everywhere on the streets and buildings. I guess because of their holiday coming up. But I guess more or less, America is the same way on 4th of July.
I can’t believe Drew is getting his mission realigned. Tell me where he is going. That’s so cool he can be going to a mission where it just opened up! Apparently our mission was opened up in December 7, 1978. One of the first missions were opened up was Dominican Republic. President Glazier took us where it was announced by Russell M. Nelson and read what he said it was pretty cool. They told us about Peter in Acts where Peter had a dream were he didn’t want to eat the animals that he was not suppose to eat. And that the Law of Moses was no more. That was a dream that symbolized he had to go out and preach the gospel.
So I finally got the Dear Elders you have sent me. I got one from Sister Wawro and Angelica Strasser. Tell them both thank you for the letters and I love to read what friends send me. She said Dad wanted to name Jaxon’s middle name Franklin. I think Franklin would be a good name but I am just honored you named Jaxon’s middle name after me. Angelica asked how the language is going? The language is going well. I don’t know a ton of vocabulary but being surrounded by Spanish everywhere you go I’m picking up the vocabulary very quickly and having teachers who only know Spanish really pushes you even more to learn the language.
So there are 22 new Latins from Mexico, 8 from Honduras, 2 from Peru, some from Nicaragua and 2 from DR. The 2 from Peru are in my mission field so I am excited to talk to them. I have to go.
Elder Cudd
p.s. Let me know how Mitt is doing sorry I would like to tell You SO MUCH MORE but I might be able to get on later today Love you

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Meeting Elder David A. Bednard...

Dear Family,
    So on Tuesday Elder David A. Bednard came to our MTC and spoke to all 18 of us elders. It was open forum so we asked whatever questions we wanted too. I wrote in my journal almost everything that I can recall of the whole situation and remember what questions were asked and who said them. Before he came, the leaders told us to prepare for him and so I did my fasting. I fasted for 24 hours before he came. I fasted to be prepared. I was the only person who fasted. Our district talked about it but they all backed out I guess. But I wanted to make it something very special to me.
    At the end he invoked a blessing on us. Elder Bednard said "I invoke a blessing on you that you will learn to be agents now in our lives and throughout eternity. He described what it meant to be acting as an agent. What he meant by agents is for example when Peter the Apostle saw Jesus walking on water, he didn't sit and analyze if he could do it rather he acted as an agent and jumped out of the boat and tried to walk on water. When Nephi was tied up against a tree by his wicked brothers he said he think Nephi didn't just say give me strength and broke the bonds of the rope and poof and it was broken. But no he acted for himself as an agent and asked for strength more strength if he have not prayed. But Elder Bednard thinks Nephi really had to struggle and wrestle with the rope to get out of it and break free.
    We watched a video Devotional in 2009 on Sunday 2 days before Elder Bednard came where he talked about this a little more in the Devotional at the Provo, MTC in 2009 he said "I have been getting a lot of questions concerning how do I know if it is of the spirit or if it is just me. He said" I'm going to give you an answer that might surprise you. STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT! If you're a good boy, honoring your covenants, keeping the commandments and pressing forward! Then everything is of the spirit. He said the worse thing you can do is sit down and analyze. We have to learn to be agents and do what Nephi did in 1st Nephi 3 which was "I will go and do." He then gave an experience where he skipped a stake conference meeting with a father he saw in the congregation to watch their boys play in the championship basketball game in this tournament right before stake conference started. The father was thrilled to go watch his son! Elder Bednard still didn't know if he did was right and his wife said "David you would do anything to go see a ball game." And he never was sure what he did was right till 6 months later when the father's son died and the father told him the tragic accident of his son and said at the hospital to President Bednard was "thank you for letting me experience my son's basketball game because I would of never other wise would have seen him in a game like that. He gave another story as acting as an agent with Elder Packer. That was a really good one too but that story is little bit too long for me to type. Anyways the best part of the whole meeting was at the end when we could shake his hand. When I was shaking his hand. I quickly asked him 3 questions that I really wanted to know because I never got called on when I was raising my hand because I wasn't fast enough. It was about 30 seconds all these questions were asked and answered.
But I asked Elder Bednard " Can I bear that Jesus is the Christ as strongly as you can?" ( I asked that cause when he stepped in the room. I didn't even know he walked in till I felt something telling me to look up. He has very spiritual presence.) He replied "You don't have to be an apostle to do what I do. You can. Then I asked "Did you know that you would be an apostle? Or were you just surprised? He replied "No man could have known this. And I was [surprised]. Then lastly I asked how does it feel to be a special witness of Jesus Christ? He replied "It feels awesome!" When he said that he was smiling from ear to ear. If felt the spirit so strongly. That was the most important question I felt I had to ask him and it was a few words but to me through the spirit he could not have said anymore.
    I really badly want to share a devotional I watched 2 Sundays ago that Jeffrey R. Holland said but I am out of time. It makes me wanna cry just thinking about what Jeffrey R. Holland said about Jesus and the apostle Peter it is deeply touching but I will share with you next time if I remember.

Yo se que Dios nos ama y queramos vivir con Él
Yo se que actuando un agente podemos ser guia por Su mano
Yo amo mi Salvador y Su sacrifica para mi
Estoy agracedo que puedo pedir por el ama puro de Cristo y Él respuestaré mi deseo
Elder Cudd

P.S. I'm reading Jesus The Christ by the way. I'm glued to that book

Friday, February 10, 2012

Extra time...

hey, I have about 10 more minutes to write. I just wanted to tell mom that they do have peanut butter.  We have eaten it for breakfast on our banana pancakes a few times already. I just got back from the botanical gardens. It was really nice. We drove across town and it is exactly what Weston (Sister Tryon's nephew) said "everyone is constantly honking and the driving is crazy!" People are inches from touching the next car. Everyone is out and about on the streets. It's different than America. I took a lot of pictures of the garden, it was really beautiful. I got to admit it seems a little bit out of my character taking pictures of trees and nature but it was different because they had an jardin japones (Japanese garden) and the Japanese trees were very interesting so that was kind of cool. Then they showed us our climate in this room of how the different parts of Dominican Republic look like and the east side looks really nice. Very tropical and rain forest like. I will not lie, I didn't know one word the lady said on the tour. I need to get better at Spanish.  Anyways love you guys.

Beautiful scenery, tight quarters, and delicious food!

So, I just got back from the temple. It is a 3 story temple. Our classes are not in the temple however it's in the building next to the temple. Our classes and residence are on the same floor which is the fourth floor. The first floor is where we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. The second and third floor is where members fly from different islands and need a nice place to stay a few nights while they are visiting the temple. The rooms are really nice here. They're nicer than the ones in Utah but they are a lot smaller however we have managed to have one of the most tidiest rooms in the MTC. Which consists everyone that I flew with which was about 16 Americans. Plus, there is about 6 islanders here from Jamaica and some others from small islands in the west indies. I can't think of the islands name but all those elders only speak English. It's funny, cause sometimes they try speaking Spanish to us as if we were already fluent. My Spanish has gotten even better than last time when I wrote. I realized in class I have to listen real intensively and focus hard on how the tense ends for each verb because one little ending can mean past, present, or future. Which I get confused a lot. I don't think I know that many words yet. I need to practice speaking Spanish more often when I have the opportunity to speak with the Elders. I got the grammar kind of down for someone who hasn't been here long.  I forgot to tell you I memorized the first vision in Spanish and our missionary purpose. I actually memorized both back in Provo.  Our district in Provo was a pretty remarkable district and we learned lots of stuff.  Not comparing ourselves to other missionaries but observing from what I have seen, we were a pretty exceptional bunch.

I can't remember which Quorum of the Seventy said it, I know it's written in my journal. (By the way I write about 20-30 minutes each night about my day. I write 2-3 pages on average. I think one day I'm going to be real grateful all the spiritual experiences I have felt.) But he said "my best attribute is my desire." How true is that!! I feel in my life and in the  people of the church, have incredible desires to do righteousness and makes us some of the best missionaries and disciples. Not to only have desire in sports and careers but the desire to come and walk with Christ.
Random thoughts:

All of our teachers are natives here and go to the local university in Santo Domingo. You might want to write me on my email instead of Dear Elder because no one in the MTC has received DearElders yet. So, it took till today to find out that Giants won the Superbowl, how disappointing. Oh, our gym is a basketball hoop outside in the parking lot but its not as bad as you may think. It's always super nice outside and always the right temperature. We did a service project at the local university. We were picking up trash and there was a lot of it. It was so nice to get out in the world. At times it doesn't feel like I'm out of the country because I'm always in this building. I'm about to go to some botanical gardens here in a minute so I have to go soon. I'm real excited to go out again. By the way, The food here is 10x better than the food in Provo. Most of the food is similar to mom cooking. For example, today for lunch we had taco soup. It was delicious. We always have tons of bananas and they are available anytime. I'm not sure but I think a local restaurant caters our lunches and dinners. The juice we drink is a brand called Bon. It's delicious. Palm trees are everywhere here as well as fruit trees. Everything is real tropical here. I'm always fighting my tiredness each day, its rough. I have to go.

Yo se que puedamos vivir con cada otra ultra vez
Yo se que Padre Celestial nos ama mucho y cuando obedecemos su mandamientos, El bendices a nos.
Yo les quiero mucho

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm Here!!

I am in the Dominican Republic!!!!! They randomly said go write to your family now,  so I am. It's really nice here. The entire MTC consists of about little more than 20 elders and sisters here at this MTC! It's small but it is really nice. I heard someone say in Miami if we were the church that had the big looking castle. And now i know why. The temple is huge here! and it is really pretty. It really sticks outside! The weather and palm trees are beautiful. They let us walk around outside and there are just trees with fruit everywhere and it feels really good outside it's not hot like you would think. It's pretty down here. At the same time trash is everywhere here! I mean it's pretty bad. The houses are almost exactly how they look like in the pictures, small but have a lot of color. I love all of you. Also, it is crazy walking around and everything is in Spanish. Everyone is really nice here. And I am doing great. I have a new companion Elder Dowdle. I think it takes between 4 days to 10 days to get Dear Elders letters so that kind of stinks, is that true? I hope the family is doing great.

My address is:

Elder Michael Cudd
Centro de capacitacion misional Santo Domingo
Avenida Bolivar # 825, esquina Ricardo Robles, Los Robles, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dom